Don't Forget About Property Taxes When Searching for a Home

Don't Forget About Property Taxes When Searching for a Home

When searching for a home, don’t forget to look at property taxes in addition to asking prices. Homes with the same asking price may have different property tax amounts, especially if their ages differ or they’re in different municipalities or school districts. Your monthly housing payment would vary, depending on which home you bought.

In our area, property taxes—also referred to as real estate taxes—have three parts: municipal (township or borough), county, and school. School taxes are by far the largest component and can vary a fair amount among districts. Municipal and county taxes are assessed annually on a calendar-year basis, whereas school taxes are assessed annually from July 1 through June 30.

In areas with low property taxes, you should be able to qualify for a more expensive home than in areas where taxes are high. Many listings specify at least the total property tax amount, and some include the amounts for each type.

Note that property taxes are not the same as real-estate transfer taxes. The transfer tax is a percentage of the sale price that you pay once, at closing. In most of our local municipalities, the total transfer tax is 2%, split equally by buyer and seller. A notable exception is Philadelphia, where the total transfer tax is more than double, at 4.278%.

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If you’re planning to buy or sell a home, contact Annette Nelson at (610) 247-7892 or

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